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19 ASPEC first week.

 
Old 06-30-2018, 08:28 PM
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19 ASPEC first week.

Some of you know me from my years of Acura ownership. I disappeared for a few years when I had my 2011 M37S which I loved as well as my 2014 A6. Then in late 2015 I returned with a TLX Advance which I had felt was just meh especially with the crappy tranny. I was counting the days until my lease would end this October and started getting the itch. I really thought I would be in a G80 Sport and test drove one a few times, but not being able to find one I wanted and the rather firm seats as well as the thought of the low MPGs with gas rising every week I was second guessing me decision.

When the 19 RDX cake out we went to dealer to,see it for the wife. They had an ASPEC on the showroom floor and I was digging the looks. I was chatting with the sales rep and said I would not be in an Acura this time due to not really having anything that excited me. He suggested the RLX Hybrid. If you see my posts in that forum you will know I was impressed and almost got one. The more I looked at the TLX ASPEC I really was digging the look. The 2 hesitations were the damn 9AT and infotainment. The infotainment wa easier the deal with knowing I could do Android Auto to compensate. The 9AT wa a larger risk. Many here said it has gotten better than in 15. I did go for a test drive and while it felt better I could still feel some lag. Well last week I picked up a 19 AWD Modern Steel with Red Leather. After a week and a few hundred miles I figured I would post my intital feedback. I will likely update this ina a few weeks, but since the majority of the car is basically the same as my 15 I suspect most of my opinions will be same as my 15.

Overall the TLX has come a a long way. Hallelujah the beak is gone and the new grille is rather handsome and attractive. My only complaint is the Big A logo needs to have the A raised to show some depth. The blacked out trim on the ASPEC along with the Shark Gray wheels on the Modern Steel body really give the var a stealthy look. I had gotten the dark gun metal TLX and SH-AWD emblems to replace the standard chrome ones and removed the 3 exterior ASPEC badges this other than the A on the trunk and grille and wheels as well as the lugs and exhaust tips the car has no other chrome. The rear diffuser looks good but the way the outer edges of the curve then try to recess back into the bumper almost looks like the outer parts are slapped on pieces. I really like the front fascia, hood and the black highlights rimming the fog lights, lower lip and back deck really make the car just look sexy and faster than it truly is. I will be honest if the dealer would have had a red on red ASPEC I might have been in that, but the MSM on Red is just sexy as well. This car makes me feel like I did when I got my first 08 Type-S.

For the drive train there is not much to say here. The engine and rear diff are the same and the 9AT is unfortunately the same. Sure they tweaked it, but how did they put the new 10AT in the low volume RLX and not the TLX? While I can feel the improvement in the 9AT it still is a huge disappointment. While the higher shifts are better and leaning in off the line is good, if you are rolling to a stop or through a stop and ease into the pedal the tranny hesitates and lagginess is very evident. You feel the rebs climb as the the tranny feels like an eternity shifts between gears. This seems to be the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts. Hopefully in a few months I wonít be hating it so much as to regret my decision. Wi tee will tell as my 15 shifts like crap between 40 and 55 degrees. OK, enough of this cars biggest most flagrant flaw. The stock brakes are just so-so and on my 15 the rotors and warped to hell from my aggressive braking. I expect the same on this one, but may put some EBC Restiff on soon, it we'll see.

The interior is pretty much the same other than the new seats and head unit. The seats are nice, I love the black head liner. The leather is clearly a better grade than my 15 was. The new seats are very supportive and provide just the right amount of lateral support. The power thigh extender is nice. The seat design is showing its age as once you sit in the new RDX 16 way seats or RLX seats the TLX just seem a bit lacking. The head unit is updated a tad with new graphics and snappier feedback, but this thing is so outdated it is sad. What was redeeming is having Android Auto I jack in my OnePlus 6 and I can forget the Acura headunit. The ELS is good, but felt my older 4G had better implementation. The dual screens is actually great because I have Android Auto up top with Audio, HVAC, etc. controls in the bottom. Look at the 19 A6 dual screens and virtual cockpit. I am still mixed on the artificial engine noise. I am not sure if they are pumping in artificial engine noise in normal mode, if not is wish the car were quieter. I may try disconnecting the ANC module to try it, but not sure yet.

The suspension and tires have seen an improvement. First the return to Michelin tires is welcome. The 15 TLX had some of the worst tires, Goodyearís, that I have ever driven on. I immediately ro laced those with Conti DSW06. Having driven on 3 sets of DSW06s the last 4-5 years does make the stock Michelinís feel a little lacking. The stock tires are decent, very comfortable and handle OK, the real test will be first rain storm as the Contis were awesome. The dampers seem to have been retuned and paired with the Michelinís provide a really nice balance of handling and comfort.

My 33 months in my 15 TLX became a tormenting time as the tranny sucked almost every day and I am still amazed I got another Acura because that tranny made me swear off the brand. So far I am digging the car and the ride. I love walking away or to the car and looking at in from the front or front corners. If Acura releases a Type-S in the next gen next year at launch I suspect I will bail on this car in about 18 months, but time will tell. I do plan on getting the paint ceramic coated in 2 weeks.

Overall a very nice effort by Acura. On scale of 1-10 the car is a good 7-7.5, if they had put in the 10AT I could easily rate this car a 8-8.5. For some perspective my A6 was a solid 9, but M37S about a 7.5-8. I am glad I am still with Acura as this car has me back feeling like I did back in 07-08 with both my Type-S. Letís just hope I feel this way in 6 months.

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Old 07-01-2018, 09:51 AM
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Nice review! I have only seen two TLX A-SPEC's here in the wild so far and both looked really nice. I am half considering getting one for my next car, as I may try out leasing because I already know that I will want something different in a few years (I usually keep my cars for 10+ years but I don't see that with my next one). Acura's packages are maddening, though, and the Advance has more useful things for me.

But I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the 10AT being a good tranny just yet and with Honda/Acura's history I am definitely leery:

https://acurazine.com/forums/third-g...issues-971168/
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:40 AM
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While the 10AT may have other issues long term I believe the consensus is for day to day shifting it is superior to the ZF 9AT.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ESHBG View Post
Nice review! I have only seen two TLX A-SPEC's here in the wild so far and both looked really nice. I am half considering getting one for my next car, as I may try out leasing because I already know that I will want something different in a few years (I usually keep my cars for 10+ years but I don't see that with my next one). Acura's packages are maddening, though, and the Advance has more useful things for me.

But I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the 10AT being a good tranny just yet and with Honda/Acura's history I am definitely leery:

https://acurazine.com/forums/third-g...issues-971168/
Saw my second one yesterday. First was black & this one was red. Very nice color a true red.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:14 PM
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I did disconnect the ANC module today, but did not take the car out. I did start it up and no warning lights or anything. Took all of 2-3 minutes. Will drive it a few days and see how this sounds and may leave it disconnected.
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Old 07-01-2018, 07:46 PM
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The tranny takes time to get used to it. It behaves differently from the 2015. Use the paddles to down shift quickly when in a pinch. Note, if you hit the paddle 3 times down continuously it will actually drop 4 gears.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:46 AM
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I get that the tranny is different, but on a $45K car I should,not have to “get used to” nor “use the paddle shifters” to get the damn thing to do it one and only job correctly. It is better, but there are still scenarios at low speed that this thing is a mess. They should have dropped the 10AT in even if for one year, but it is what it is and at least it is more acceptable than my 15 was for now.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:06 AM
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Hell, if it took just a nose job to make you happy... that 9ZF obsession is overdone. It is fine since 2016. The 10-sp. is not that different, since it is a throttle mapping issue rather than the transmission itself. I gather that the 2018 is tuned a bit more aggressively.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:22 PM
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It is more than nose job, the overall look, with the hood, blacked out trim, gray wheels, etc. the ZF still sucks and every day I sense while better than my 15 this years ZF is still crap. The lower shifts are slow as crap, slowest shifting tranny I have ever owned, even the 19. I think the folks that are fine with it have comprised their expectations and/or paddle shift to make up for it.

As a a side note drove today without the ANC hooked up and am digging it. The car clearly has artificial engine/exhaust noise pumped in even in normal mode as the car is very quiet now. I do hear natural engine noise and I can’t say the the external road noise and any worse. The blue took and voice commands seem to work fine. What I need to try and validate is of the ELS sounds better. Several folks have said the ANC hurst ELS and the sub, I will try and do a comparison one day.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
It is more than nose job, the overall look, with the hood, blacked out trim, gray wheels, etc. the ZF still sucks and every day I sense while better than my 15 this years ZF is still crap. The lower shifts are slow as crap, slowest shifting tranny I have ever owned, even the 19. I think the folks that are fine with it have comprised their expectations and/or paddle shift to make up for it.


It is not slow. Put it Sport + (Plus) and you'll see the real nature of this transmission. It is fully responsive - ZF8 manner, little difference. I had the same issue with my last BMW; awful throttle response and I bought a $350 card to mitigate this. At least with the Acura, I have a built-in way to deal with it. I wrote it before; if I didn't have the S+/M (paddles) modes, I wouldn't have this car.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:44 PM
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I find Sport + annoying, holds gear way too long.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
I find Sport + annoying, holds gear way too long.
Yep, the exact reason why I almost never use it. Totally impractical to use for everyday driving as you level off you speed but it just stays in a low gear forever even if you are barely pressing the gas pedal. It would be like driving a car with a manual transmission in 3rd gear while just cruising steady at 55 mph for miles. Sure you get more response but who wants to run at 2 to 3 times the rpm's needed all the time? The trans shifting is a low point for sure but then again I didn't have a 2015 so that thing must have been unbearable. If Acura doesn't put in a proper shifting trans in the next gen then I am fairly certain this A-spec is my last TL/TLX. Wife has a 2017 RDX and that trans is lightning quick in downshifts in comparison with no "modes" while the mpg is almost identical (both shAwd). I would gladly give up the 4 trans modes to have the 1 mode 2017 RDX transmission (shift lever would be nice as well).

Acura has admittedly done a lot of working trying to get the transmission to shift as people would expect so I think for this gen TLX it is what it is at this point and the issues that remain are inherent to the design and what could be programmed out has been done. I know some say the trans is perfect so expectations and experiences vary.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:58 PM
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The pre 19 RDX only has a 6 speed which I used to love it, but when I drive the wife's RDX you can tell a few more gears would be helpful.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:54 PM
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I drive exclusively in sport+ and it holds at 3k rpms when I am cruising. I guess some people may think that is bad. That never seemed too high to me nor is it loud since I donít have an exhaust.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:30 PM
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My old as bones TL cruises at ~3k rpm on the highway, for extended periods of time, and it never seems to skip a beat. I'm sure it's fine at 3k also. Just not as fuel efficient
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:19 AM
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The tranny is just crap, sport + and paddles can't fix a shit design. I just finished a 600 mile road trip in my A-Spec - getting going from a dead stop in this thing is painful. Its such a shame too, the car looks fast just sitting still, and then you become a sad panda as soon as foot meets floor...Once its going around 70mph acceleration isn't bad, but low speed acceleration is deplorable, my daughter's civic gets going quicker. If this thing had the manual from the 4th gen...
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ultrapogi View Post
I drive exclusively in sport+ and it holds at 3k rpms when I am cruising. I guess some people may think that is bad. That never seemed too high to me nor is it loud since I donít have an exhaust.
x2

That was basically the I drove a manual car. It is a very good transmission, eager to play (when used correctly).
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:48 AM
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Remind me the point of having 9 gears for efficiency if you're only using 7 of them and keeping high rpms, plus having to deal with shifting all the time in sport+. You get tired of it fast, not the car to do this. May as well get a manual and change brand.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:11 AM
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Also... he's the guy *always* arguing about fuel efficiency... yet he apparently always drives in Sport+

I don't get it either.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by TacoBello View Post
Also... he's the guy *always* arguing about fuel efficiency... yet he apparently always drives in Sport+

I don't get it either.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by pyrodan007 View Post
Remind me the point of having 9 gears for efficiency if you're only using 7 of them and keeping high rpms, plus having to deal with shifting all the time in sport+. You get tired of it fast, not the car to do this. May as well get a manual and change brand.
You can't drive it as a pure "automatic" in sports+ & have to use the paddles?
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BEAR-AvHistory View Post
You can't drive it as a pure "automatic" in sports+ & have to use the paddles?
Good question, I think it may default to auto until you press paddles. Even then, it will auto shift at redline. But I hated sport+, insanely jerky.
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Old 07-04-2018, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pyrodan007 View Post
Good question, I think it may default to auto until you press paddles. Even then, it will auto shift at redline. But I hated sport+, insanely jerky.
No in mine I can run econ, comfort, sport & sport+ all in automatic. The selection just raises various shift points & shift intensity. If I move the lever to the left. "sport mode ", I get another set of programs for the 4 base selections. My other choice in any prior setting is to use the paddles.

In comfort, shifter right (normal default position) a paddle shift will temporarily shift the car to manual. After a short time it will revert to automatic. If the shifter is left the sport position & I use the paddles the car will stay under paddle control "manual" till I move the stick back to the default slot & if will release the paddles.

Old chart which I have not updated for the 2018. The DTC & DSC refer to traction control & the stabilization system. There is a rocker switch which lets me disable these systems again regardless of shift selections.

In Manual Sport, & Sport+ car will hold at redline & not shift up automatically. Keeps you awake as to what mode you are in.


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Old 07-04-2018, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by pyrodan007 View Post
Remind me the point of having 9 gears for efficiency if you're only using 7 of them and keeping high rpms, plus having to deal with shifting all the time in sport+. You get tired of it fast, not the car to do this. May as well get a manual and change brand.
On highway I'll switch to regular Sport or paddle up to 9th. Otherwise I use 6-7th max. And I wouldn't call 2500-3000 high rpm.... 1500-2000rpm is for people who hates to drive. There is nothing jerky in Sport+. All crisp and smooth shifting. No worse when cable was used to control engine rpm. Some are really whining for nothing.

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Old 07-04-2018, 01:01 PM
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The 2015 TLX , which I owned, with the ZF 9 was almost undrivable in Sports + without using the paddles. While the shifting in my 2018 Aspec is aggressive in Sports + there’s no jerkiness and shifts are crisp. No need to use the paddles. There’s less transmission breaking than in Sport, but once I accepted that it’s simply a consequence of the aggressive shift pattern I simply adjusted. For me it’s a blast driving in Sports +; however there is a significant gas mileage penalty to be paid.

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Old 07-04-2018, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
It is more than nose job, the overall look, with the hood, blacked out trim, gray wheels, etc. the ZF still sucks and every day I sense while better than my 15 this years ZF is still crap. The lower shifts are slow as crap, slowest shifting tranny I have ever owned, even the 19. I think the folks that are fine with it have comprised their expectations and/or paddle shift to make up for it.

As a a side note drove today without the ANC hooked up and am digging it. The car clearly has artificial engine/exhaust noise pumped in even in normal mode as the car is very quiet now. I do hear natural engine noise and I canít say the the external road noise and any worse. The blue took and voice commands seem to work fine. What I need to try and validate is of the ELS sounds better. Several folks have said the ANC hurst ELS and the sub, I will try and do a comparison one day.
It seems that the transmission is a major concern for you, yet you bought the car. Respectfully, why?
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:05 AM
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Good question, it is much better, but still needs work. I also looked at this as a 18 month ride possibly as when the 6G comes out I will likely upgrade when prices come down. If I am in this car 36 months I suspect I will be fine, but the tranny does make itself known at times. Every car has compromises so I felt while the tranny is lacking everything else the car does it does well. Honestly I wanted the RLX Hybrid, but that head unit was such a turn off suspension was a bit floaty. At least in thenTLX I jack in my phone and the head unit is gone at that point, I let the phone be the head unit.

The TLX was also a great value for the money. To get all the same features in other brands I would have been $5-$10K more. I was close on a G80 Sport but will wait for their next gen as that car is so heavy and even with sport suspension still plows into turns and it’s seats were also a bit firm.

Why didn't I just extend my lease another 12-18 months? Easy I was paying for negative equity from my trade in 3 years ago and extending the lease would have been giving Acura free money and the 15 tranny sucked everyday I hated driving my 15. The newer tranny just makes itself an inconvenient issue on occasion.
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:16 AM
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As you say, every car has it's compromises. The problem is when there's one or two things that just kill too much of the enjoyment. My experience with my previous 2015 3.5 SH-AWD transmission was somewhat that way, which is perhaps why I love my 2016 2.4 - the look, and the engine tranny combo. Even then I would love to upgrade to the 2018 Elite ASpec available in Canada before they are all gone, given that I would get all the features and the even sharper looks without giving up the 8DCT. Alas, too much negative equity, but I still smile every day I get in the car, so I'll wait patiently until the 2020 arrives.

Keep on enjoying the good stuff!
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 012TL-GLM View Post
The tranny is just crap, sport + and paddles can't fix a shit design. I just finished a 600 mile road trip in my A-Spec - getting going from a dead stop in this thing is painful. Its such a shame too, the car looks fast just sitting still, and then you become a sad panda as soon as foot meets floor...Once its going around 70mph acceleration isn't bad, but low speed acceleration is deplorable, my daughter's civic gets going quicker. If this thing had the manual from the 4th gen...
This is true. My 15 auto coupe accord v6 in sport mode wanted to take off. It felt stronger and faster.

This car has the same engine and feels slower, which doesnít make sense.I also think my coupe had better mpg too.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:16 PM
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So I have had ANC disconnected fro about 4 days and while the fake engine noise was interesting I am leaving it disconnected. The car clearly pipe in fake noise even in normal mode. Also while this may be pure placebo effect I swear the ELS sounds cleaner and even the lows sound better. I have asked everyone I talked to via Bluetooth if they hear any noise in background and everyone says I sound fine. Voice commands and Android Auto voice commands work fine as well. And honestly there is minimal road noise, so little I question how effective the damn ANC is. They really need to make ANC a permanently configurable option in the menu somewhere as well as the piped in engine noise.

Additionally I am really enjoying the car. The more I drive it I think the tranny is learning and doing a bit better, but does have it moments, although not as bad as my 15. I will admit I was spoiled by the 8AT ZT in my 14 Audi A6, probably the best tranny and overall drive train I have ever owned. The car does ride more refined and smoother than my 15, but my 15 had Conti DWS06 vs. these Michelins. I want to hang on to the Michelins for now unless I find myself in a situation where they do not handle water well. I do plan on ordering the EBC Redstuff pads for all 4 corners and next week the car gets GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum paint coating and that should hold me until the Type-S is released.
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:02 AM
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Glad to hear you are enjoying the car. The MMC addressed most issues, looks better as well and is underrated car in my opinion.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:16 AM
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Especially for the money, hard to touch anything similar without spending at least $5K more.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:14 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MTL, Canada
Age: 51
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post

Additionally I am really enjoying the car. The more I drive it I think the tranny is learning and doing a bit better,
Definitely. Initially my Sport + (Plus) was hyper aggressive but over the weeks/months, it adjusted to my driving style and no longer assumes that I am always on a racetrack.
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